Recent additions to my wishlist…

A selection of books that have caught my eye this week and found their way on to my ever-growing ‘To Read’ list…

The Cuckoo’s Calling (Cormoran Strike)  by Robert Galbraith:

Cuckoo

This was added to my wishlist first thing this morning and if it wasn’t for the fact that today is day 2 of unemployment, I would be reading it already.

Released on 18th April, it was revealed all over the literary press this morning to have actually been written by JK Rowling. It has also received twenty seven 5 star reviews on Amazon and I want to read it NOW.

The description says:

When a troubled model falls to her death from a snow-covered Mayfair balcony, it is assumed that she has committed suicide. However, her brother has his doubts, and calls in private investigator Cormoran Strike to look into the case.

Strike is a war veteran – wounded both physically and psychologically – and his life is in disarray. The case gives him a financial lifeline, but it comes at a personal cost: the more he delves into the young model’s complex world, the darker things get – and the closer he gets to terrible danger . . .

A gripping, elegant mystery steeped in the atmosphere of London – from the hushed streets of Mayfair to the backstreet pubs of the East End to the bustle of Soho – The Cuckoo’s Calling is a remarkable book. Introducing Cormoran Strike, this is a classic crime novel in the tradition of P. D. James and Ruth Rendell, and marks the beginning of a unique series of mysteries.

464 pages.

Kiss Me First by Lottie Moggach:

Kiss Me First

Released in hardcover and kindle on the 4th July this was mentioned in a recent podcast episode and the idea intrigues me.

The description says:

Leila has never met Tess, but she now knows more about Tess than anyone in the world. She’s read all of her emails, researched her past and asked Tess for every detail about her friends and family. Tess has never met Leila. But if she wants to slip away from the world unnoticed, she needs to trust Leila with her life. At first, Leila finds it easy to assume Tess’s identity, and no one has any reason to distrust her. But as Leila is soon to discover, there is much more to a person than the facts and there are things about life you can learn only by living it . . . Original, haunting and utterly gripping, Kiss Me First is an electrifying debut from a phenomenally gifted storyteller.

Which doesn’t sound as intriguing as the synopsis I heard actually. From what I heard on the podcast, Tess wants to commit suicide but doesn’t want to cause pain to her family. She therefore somehow employs Leila to take her place. I can’t get my head around how that would work. So I want to read it!

352 pages.

I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou:

I know why the caged bird

First released in 1969, this is the first in Angelou’s seven volume autobiography and has never been out of print. I recently heard an old interview with Angelou in which she was asked why she started writing. Her explanation was shocking and has haunted me ever since. She explained that she was raped at the age of 7 by her mother’s boyfriend. She spoke up and the boyfriend was arrested, released but then found dead. In her 7 year old mind, Angelou believed that her voice had the power to kill people and she stopped speaking. Writing became her outlet. I need to know more about this amazing woman.

The description says:

A coming-of-age story that illustrates how strength of character and a love of literature can help overcome racism and trauma. The book begins when three-year-old Maya and her older brother are sent to Stamps, Arkansas, to live with their grandmother and ends when Maya becomes a mother at the age of 17. In the course of Caged Bird, Maya transforms from a victim of racism with an inferiority complex into a self-possessed, dignified young woman capable of responding to prejudice.

320 pages

The Reason I Jump: one boy’s voice from the silence of autism by Naoki Higashida, David Mitchell and Keiko Yoshida:

The Reason I Jump

This was also released in hardcover and on kindle on the 4th July.

The description says:

Composed by a writer still with one foot in childhood, and whose autism was at least as challenging and life-defining as our son’s, THE REASON I JUMP was a revelatory godsend. Reading it felt as if, for the first time, our own son was talking to us about what was happening inside his head.’

Written by Naoki Higashida when he was only thirteen, this remarkable book explains the often baffling behaviour of autistic children and shows the way they think and feel – such as about the people around them, time and beauty, noise, and themselves. Naoki abundantly proves that autistic people do possess imagination, humour and empathy, but also makes clear, with great poignancy, how badly they need our compassion, patience and understanding.

David Mitchell and his wife have translated Naoki’s book so that it might help others dealing with autism, and generally illuminate a little-understood condition. Like The Diving Bell and the Butterfly, it gives us an exceptional chance to enter the mind of another and see the world from a strange and fascinating perspective.

192 pages

The Boy in the Dress  by David Walliams:

The Boy

This is actually Walliams’ first novel originally published in 2008, but it was re-released in paperback on 4th July with a new cover to match the rest of his novels. I absolutely loved Mr Stink and WILL be reading all of Walliam’s work – hopefully to my daughter’s when they are a little older.

The description says:

Dennis was different.

Why was he different, you ask?

Well, a small clue might be in the title of this book…

Charming, surprising and hilarious – The Boy in the Dress is everything you would expect from the co-creator of Little Britain. David Walliams’s beautiful first novel will touch the hearts (and funny bones) of children and adults alike.

240 pages and a snip from Amazon at the moment at £3.85 in paperback or £2.34 on kindle.

Tell Me Who I Am: Sometimes it’s Safer Not to Know by Alex And Marcus Lewis:

Tell Me Who I Am

Also released in hardcover and on kindle on the 4th July, the description put me in mind of SJ Watson’s Before I Sleep which was originally released in April 2011 and which I really enjoyed.

The description says:

Imagine waking up one day to discover that you have forgotten everything about your life. Your only link with the past, your only hope for the future, is your identical twin.

Now imagine, years later, discovering that your twin had not told you the whole truth about your childhood, your family, and the forces that had shaped you. Why the secrets? Why the silences? You have no choice but to begin again.

This has been Alex’s reality: a world where memories are just the stories people tell you, where fact and fiction are impossible to distinguish. With dogged courage he has spent years hunting for the truth about his hidden past and his remarkable family. His quest to understand his true identity has revealed shocking betrayals and a secret tragedy, extraordinary triumph over crippling adversity and, above all, redemption founded on brotherly love.

Marcus his twin brother has sometimes been a reluctant companion on this journey, but for him too it has led to staggering revelations and ultimately the shedding of impossible burdens.

Their story spans continents and eras, from 1950s debutantes and high society in the Home Counties to a remote island in the Pacific and 90s raves. Disturbing, funny, heart-breaking and affirming, Alex and Marcus’s determination to rebuild their lives makes us look afresh at how we choose to tell our stories.

352 pages

Perfect  by Rachel Joyce:

Perfect

Another 4th July hardcover and kindle release. I enjoyed The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry and this second novel from Rachel Joyce sounds different and intriguing…

The description says:

In 1972, two seconds were added to time. It was in order to balance clock time with the movement of the earth. Byron Hemming knew this because James Lowe had told him and James was the cleverest boy at school. But how could time change? The steady movement of hands around a clock was as certain as their golden futures.

Then Byron’s mother, late for the school run, makes a devastating mistake. Byron’s perfect world is shattered. Were those two extra seconds to blame? Can what follows ever be set right?

368 pages.

The Sleeper  by Emily Barr:

The Sleeper

Released in paperback and on kindle on the 4th July the cover of this just caught my eye. I’ve never heard of Emily Barr before but I want to read this:

A tense, gripping psychological thriller, with Hitchcockian overtones, perfect for fans of Gillian Flynn’s GONE GIRL and Sophie Hannah.

Lara Finch is living a lie.

Everyone thinks she has a happy life in Cornwall, married to the devoted Sam, but in fact she is desperately bored. When she is offered a new job that involves commuting to London by sleeper train, she meets Guy and starts an illicit affair. But then Lara vanishes from the night train without a trace. Only her friend Iris disbelieves the official version of events, and sets out to find her. For Iris, it is the start of a voyage that will take her further than she’s ever travelled and on to a trail of old crimes and dark secrets. For Lara, it is the end of a journey that started a long time ago. A journey she must finish, before it destroys her…

416 pages.

Where’d You Go, Bernadette by Maria Semple:

Bernadette

Originally released on the 7th June 2012, this has just been released in paperback and came highly recommended by one of my favourite book-related podcasts.

The description says:

Bernadette Fox is notorious.

To Elgie Branch, a Microsoft wunderkind, she’s his hilarious, volatile, talented, troubled wife.

To fellow mothers at the school gate, she’s a menace.

To design experts, she’s a revolutionary architect.

And to 15-year-old Bee, she is a best friend and, quite simply, mum.

Then Bernadette disappears. And Bee must take a trip to the end of the earth to find her.

Where’d You Go, Bernadette is a compulsively readable, irresistibly written, deeply touching novel about misplaced genius and a mother and daughter’s place in the world.

304 pages and only £3.99 on kindle at the moment.

Seating Arrangements by Maggie Shipstead:

Seating Arrangements

Originally released in May 2012 this won the 2012 Dylan Thomas and LA Times First Novel Prize. The paperback has just been released and is another podcast recommendation with a description that sounds perfect for a summer read:

The Van Meters have gathered at their family retreat on the New England island of Waskeke to celebrate the marriage of daughter Daphne to an impeccably appropriate young man. The weekend is full of lobster and champagne, salt air and practiced bonhomie, but long-buried discontent and simmering lust seep through the cracks in the revelry.

Winn Van Meter, father-of-the-bride, has spent his life following the rules of the east coast upper crust, but now, just shy of his sixtieth birthday, he must finally confront his failings, his desires, and his own humanity.

432 pages.

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